So much of our lives, we spend half-invested, one foot in, testing the waters, afraid to fully commit. If you’re here, reading this article right now, I’m guessing you want to be a writer. Maybe you dream of making a sustainable income from your writing, building a business or career around your writing, creating an impactful network through your writing.
Today, my question to you is, are you ready to go all in? Are you ready to turn pro?
Many of us think that we can only become a professional writer when someone else tells us that we are. An agent takes us on as a client, a publisher agrees to print our book, a journal selects our piece for an issue, or a newspaper prints a review of our work.
Honestly, though, you’ll never get to those phases of your writing career—you’ll never land an agent, publishing deal, or review—until you turn pro.
You have to initiate your own metamorphosis into a professional writer.
You have to decide daily to be a professional writer.
As a writing coach, I often walk this path with writers, as they become published authors. The journey to see your work published can take months or years, but the journey to begin thinking of yourself as a professional writer takes only seconds. It’s a mindset shift that can happen in an instant.
I was at a wedding reception, recently, a distant friend of the bride and groom, so I was at a table where I didn’t know many people. I struck up a conversation with the man next to me, and within a few minutes, learned that he had published some children’s books on Amazon. Whew! Someone I could actually talk to! I think our short conversation that evening might actually have changed his life. Here’s how it went down:
Me: “You’ve published five children’s books on Amazon? That’s amazing!”
Him: “Yeah, I mean… I just designed them myself, you know, and I mostly do it for fun.”
Me: “But you want to earn a living from writing, don’t you?”
Him: “Sure, that’d be great. For right now, though, I’m just a starving artist, working as a freelance writer. I don’t even know how to sell these books.”
Me: “Okay, well, the first thing you need is a mindset shift. A few minutes ago, when I asked what you do, you told me, ‘I write sometimes.’ From now on, when someone asks what you do, I’m giving you permission to say, ‘I’m an author.’ That one reframe will open doors for you.”
Him: “…. You know, you’re right. I’ve been writing for my entire career. Why haven’t I called myself an author? I will now. Thank you. Seriously, thank you.”
Boom. Three minutes.
Once give yourself permission to officially be an author, you’ll begin to see a series of practical shifts in how you approach writing.
There are at least 5 ways your identity as a pro writer, an author, will start to show up in your life. You’ll become someone who:
- Always have at least one project that you’re intentionally working on, making progress on. You won’t be scattered among several projects, with no real goals or priorities. You’ll know what you’re working on and why.
- You’ll schedule writing time every week, not just when inspiration hits.
- You’ll make connections with other authors, editors, and people in the publishing industry. You won’t just sit at home, writing in isolation, because you’ll begin to see the richer, deeper career that you can have when you connect with others.
- You’ll seek out feedback. You’ll ask people to read your work and give you constructive criticism because you know all feedback helps you make your work better.
- You’ll think about the long game. You’ll know that it’s not about one book, it’s a whole platform. You’ll be willing to dream about what your books could do for your life and your career.
Click below to watch my more in-depth video explanation. If you’re wondering how to make this shift into a pro writer, an author, take the next 15 minutes to watch this video:
If you like this video format, you should download the Periscope app onto your phone and follow me @MorganGMac. I scope at least five days a week, all about writing motivation, inspiration, and advice.
What about you? What shift do you need to make in your life today to become a pro writer, an author?